About the Campaign

 

We are a group of people from around British Columbia who want to remove barriers to accessing prescription contraception. 

We set up the AccessBC organizing committee in January 2017. Since this time we have done everything from conduct research, meet with MLAs and ministerial staff, engage in awareness raising and outreach activities, and consult with government, all towards the goal of making all prescription contraception in BC free. 

We are encouraging people to write to candidates running in their constituency and tell them that increasing access to contraception is important to them! 

The AccessBC Team
The AccessBC Committee

 

Teale Phelps Bondaroff

Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff

Chair and Co-Founder

Dr. Phelps Bondaroff became passionate about access to prescription contraception after he encountered universally available free prescription contraception while completing his graduate studies in the UK. After returning home and discovering that this was not the case in Canada, he helped launch the AccessBC Campaign.

He has a PhD in politics and international studies from the University of Cambridge, and BAs in political science and international relations from the University of Calgary. He is active as an independent academic researcher, the Director of Research for OceansAsia, and the Research Coordinator for the BC Humanist Association.  

A long-time supporter of high school debate, Teale works as a high school debate coach at various schools around Vancouver Island. Prior to becoming an independent debate coach, he worked at Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria, where he also taught grade 9 health, an experience that demonstrated to him the importance of effective sex education.

Devon Black

Co-Founder

Devon has been working on sexual and reproductive health issues for over 10 years, starting as an intern with the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada’s International Women’s Health Program in 2008. Since then, she has kept up her focus on sexual and reproductive rights in her education, volunteer work, and career, including volunteer work with the University of Ottawa Women’s Centre and the White Ribbon Society for Maternal Health. Most recently, Devon has served on the Island Sexual Health Society’s board of directors since 2015, and currently sits on the board as President.

Devon has a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree in International Development and Globalization from the University of Ottawa and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Victoria. She recently completed a temporary posting in Georgetown, Guyana where she served as Legal Officer for the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination, one of Guyana's leading LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations. She now works with a private law firm in downtown Victoria.

Devon supports universal access to contraception because she knows what a difference improved sexual and reproductive health access can make for individuals and for communities. She hopes you’ll do what you can to support AccessBC’s campaign! She is currently on leave from the campaign, be we are proud to have her as our co-founder!

Devon Black
Melanie Kleinschmidt

Melanie Kleinschmidt

 

Melanie is 22 year old political science and gender studies student at the University of Victoria. She is a passionate advocate for progressive grassroots initiatives that aid in the production of a society that boldly stands for justice, emancipation, and equality. Melanie wants to eliminate the barriers that BC residents faced in obtaining prescription birth control. In her spare time she enjoys re-purposing objects from local thrift stores, being in nature playing with her dog, and pursuing musical endeavours.

Sydney Hara

 

Sydney is a 22 year old SFU geography graduate with a passion for lifting up others. She works in learning and development, as well as in group fitness. Sydney got involved in AccessBC because she believes free prescription contraception is an attainable and affordable way to combat gender inequality. She has a passion for social justice, is channelling her energy into the campaign because it is good for public health, good for women, and good for the economy, which in turn is good for everyone.

Sydney Hara
Bella Lee

Isabella Lee


Isabella is in her final year at the University of Victoria. She is majoring in Sociology with a minor in Public Administration. She is currently working as a Sexualized Violence Prevention Workshop Facilitator at the University. Isabella has been a member of AcessBC for the past three years and is passionate about women's healthcare access. She has also worked on successful provincial and federal campaigns. Isabella herself was elected in 2018 as the Director of Student Affairs for the University of Victoria Student Society, and has served as the Undergraduate Representative on the University of Victoria Board of Governors. In her spare time, she volunteers with the Girl Guides of Canada and Oak Bay Volunteers.

Jonathan Granirer

 

Jonathan Granirer is a fourth-year student studying Political Science and Economics at the University of Victoria. He is currently a UVic Senator, the Student Liaison for UVic’s Society for Students with Disabilities and is a former lead director at UVic’s Student Society. Jonathan is a young activist who is passionate about environmental activism and social justice. He first became concerned with universal prescription birth control after seeing his friends struggle to access prescription birth control due to financial barriers. He believes that it is important that British Colombians have access to prescription birth control regardless of their socio-economic class.

Jonathan Granirer
Bree Gardner

Bree Gardner

 

Bree is a multi-disciplinary activist originally hailing from Dartmouth, NS. Trans-spectrum, chronically ill, queer, disabled, and experiencing poverty, Bree’s primary focus is on Safer Spaces, Harm Reduction, and Access to Healthcare. They are an abortion doula certified through Full Spectrum Doula Collective Canada, and a practicing herbalist. Bree has worked with music festivals across the country to provide safer spaces and harm reduction policies, spoken at numerous conferences, regularly teaches workshops, and formerly hosted a podcast addressing the ongoing concerns of grassroots organizing - particularly as it pertains to queer and trans-spectrum folks.

Jasmine MacGregor

 

Jasmine is a second year student studying political science, French and communications at the University of Victoria. In her spare time she enjoys thrifting, volunteering at the UVSS Food Bank and Free Store, drinking coffee, and knitting. She is the co-president of the UVic NDP and the co-research chair of Equal Voice UVic. She joined the AccessBC team because she believes that cost should not be a barrier to accessing contraception.

Jasine MacGregor
Jelayna Van Dyke

Jelayna Van Dyke

 

Jelayna is completing a degree in Political Science and Gender Studies as majors and Art History as a minor at the University of Victoria. After completing her post-secondary schooling, she plans to become a sexual health educator. In her spare time she loves to spend time with friends, go out for coffee or food, and consume all types of art and media.

Mykayla Riley

 

Mykayla is a recent graduate of SFU where she focused her studies on economic geography and the uneven distribution of land and wealth. Mykayla is driven by the desire to help all beings, including animals, as she is a devout vegan and animal rights activist. Growing up in rural northern BC, Mykayla witnessed a lack of education regarding women's reproductive rights and believes that free universal contraceptives can be used to educate and empower women in all communities in BC.

Mykayla Riley
Samantha Castleman

Samantha Castleman

 

Samantha Castleman is a 22 year old activist. As a young woman who grew up with financial barriers, she became aware earlier on to how difficult accessing birth control can be. She believes Canadians should have the right to all forms of contraception, and that it should be covered in our health care system due to it being necessary for many to pursue happy, healthy, and productive lives. Her lifelong passions include psychology, international politics, archery, diplomacy, and art. She hopes to work in the public sector one day.

Declan Roberts

 

Declan is a 22 year old UVic political science and literature graduate. He has worked on municipal, provincial, and federal election campaigns while also working on his degree. Declan wants to find ways to better the world through a myriad of means, whether it be through direct action, or more indirect campaigns. Growing up he routinely saw the difficult choices imposed on his friends that involved deciding between being able to pay for birth control and being able to pay for other necessities. This is what spurred on his desire to work on this campaign, and ensure that others no longer needed to face that choice.

Declan Roberts

 

Declan is a 22 year old UVic political science and literature graduate. He has worked on municipal, provincial, and federal election campaigns while also working on his degree. Declan wants to find ways to better the world through a myriad of means, whether it be through direct action, or more indirect campaigns. Growing up he routinely saw the difficult choices imposed on his friends that involved deciding between being able to pay for birth control and being able to pay for other necessities. This is what spurred on his desire to work on this campaign, and ensure that others no longer needed to face that choice.

Declan Roberts
Erica Cronin

Erica Cronin

 

Erica is a registered nurse. She works in adult medicine, palliative care, labour, and delivery. She has volunteered for the Sexual Assault Response Team for six years. Erica is passionate about sexual health and reproductive justice.

Justin Kulik

 

Justin is a student hailing from Kelowna. He has campaigned on matters close to his heart. Most notably, he launched a petition regarding food waste from supermarkets which has, to date, received over 200 000 signatures. He has also worked on various campaigns including the 2018 British Columbia Referendum on Electoral Reform and was a volunteer for the BC Humanist Association House of Prayer Project. Justin recently ran for parliament in Kelowna-Lake Country.

Still young, he plans to continue working on issues that matter to him, and to those around him. Justin encourages the young people of British Columbia to stand up and make their voices heard.

Justin Kulk
Tina Madani Kia

Tina Madani Kia

 

Tina is a student at the University of British Columbia studying Immunology and Physiology. She has always been interested in social justice and after taking a public health course about pharmacare, she also became interested in public policy and social movements. She hopes to one day work in healthcare.

Amelia Brooker

 

Amelia is a student at the University of British Columbia, and is passionate about English literature and creative writing. She is a member of the British Columbia Youth Parliament and is committed to making positive change in Canadian government. She joined the AccessBC campaign with a personal interest in universal pharmacare and reproductive health. Amelia would like to encourage others to stand up for what they believe in, and let younger people know especially that their activism can make a difference.

Amlia Brooker
 Jessamyn Hung

Jessamyn Hung

 

Jessamyn has a background in sexual health workshop facilitation and is an advocate for sexual and reproductive health justice. They strongly believe in dismantling systemic inequality to improve accessibility of care for all.

Dr. Ruth Habte

Campaign Organizer

Dr. Ruth Habte is an Obstetrics and Gynaecology Resident at the University of British Columbia. She completed her undergraduate degree in pharmacy and practiced as a pharmacist in Manitoba while attending medical school at the University of Manitoba. She is passionate about reproductive health, global health, and advocacy.

 

Ruth believes her background gives her a unique perspective on how access to contraceptives affects people’s lives. She supports universal coverage of prescription contraceptives, as she has witnessed too many instances where people were unable to access contraception due to cost. 

Ruth Habte
Sophie Heizer

Sophie Heizer

 

Sophie is a multimedia journalist born on Vancouver Island in the rural community of Yellow Point. A dual Canadian-Australian citizen, she completed one year of university education at the University of Victoria before moving to Melbourne, Australia, to complete her studies in journalism at RMIT University. During the final year of her degree Sophie was offered a permanent role at The Conversation, an independent source of news and views sourced from Australia's academic and research community. She acted as the Commissioning Editor of the Education section for just under two years before returning to the island to become a full-time Canadian again.

 

Sophie has a strong background in politics and education, having studied, written about, and published on the topics for the past five years. She also has a broad spectrum of interests beyond politics and education including rugby (which she also currently plays), sewing and crafts, art, travel, books, podcasts, philosophy, food, science, self-care, and her cat Lenny.

Dr. Karyn Fulcher

 

Karyn is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria. Her approach to research is about as interdisciplinary as it gets: anthropology, sociology, and education, with some public health thrown in for good measure. She loves learning about almost any topic related to sexuality or sexual health, but her research focuses on the sexual health and well-being of young people, sex education, and reproductive justice, including access to contraception.

Karyn Fulcher
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Nazanin Moghadami

 

Nazanin is an Iranian-Canadian feminist and clinical counsellor, based in East Vancouver. She has a masters degree in counselling psychology and in-depth training in trauma-informed care. Nazanin believes that in order to improve a person’s mental health, there needs to be change on many levels, not only person to person in the therapy room; but that policy and systemic changes can vastly impact individuals’ mood and mental health. That is why, when she is not working in her private practice, she sits on boards and advisory committees, works on campaigns like this one, and engages folks in both community and formal political levels.

She believes removing barriers (especially cost) for women and anyone with uteruses, accessing prescription contraception can positively impact their quality of life, reduce stigma, increase sexual health, and empower folks to make independent decisions about their bodies. She thinks this would be very helpful for young people, those living in rural BC, people of color, and those who live with endometriosis (a condition impacting about 1,800,000 Canadians).

Dr. Katelyn Mudry

 

Dr. Katelyn Mudry, ND, MSc is a naturopathic physician dedicated to increasing quality health care access for all. Through her clinical experience Katelyn knows access to essential treatments and medications, specifically birth control, is essential for quality health care. As a community health advocate she does many free public health talks and is an advisor for local youth health organizations. In addition to supporting access bc she offers trauma informed pelvic exams and paps and is a vocal advocate for reproductive justice and preventative health. She lives and works in Cranbrook and Kimberley BC. 

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Marisa Levesque

 

Marisa is a medical student at UBC’s Southern Medical Program in Kelowna, BC, after completing a Bachelor of Science in Biology at UBC Okanagan. Marisa is passionate about reproductive justice and equitable access to quality healthcare. She was excited to be able to join the AccessBC campaign knowing just how much cost can be one of many barriers in safely accessing prescription contraception, in particular for young people growing up in smaller communities.  

Maureen Curran

 

Maureen is a teacher, mom, environmentalist, avid cyclist and social justice activist. She has lived in New West and Coquitlam for over 20 years but hails from Toronto. Her feisty mom raised her to never be complacent, to use her opportunities to help others and work hard to end injustice of all kinds - she'd be a keen supporter of AccessBC too, if she was still around.

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Lisa Jensen

 

Lisa is an elementary school teacher based in Squamish. Born in North Vancouver, Lisa received her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education at UBC and has held various positions teaching in music programs in private and public education sectors in Vancouver, West Vancouver and Squamish. Before becoming a teacher, Lisa had seriously considered becoming a nurse and had done volunteer work and study in public health initiatives in harm reduction, public education and outreach. Lisa is passionate about promoting AccessBC’s mandate for free contraception and improved sexual health education as a way to improve gender equity and to build a strong foundation for sustained child, adolescent and family well-being.

Jessica L. Jimmo

 

Jessica is currently a second-year graduate student, completing a Master of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University and has a Bachelor of Social Work from Douglas College. It came as a surprise when she learned that not all contraceptives were covered in the mandatory student extended health benefits program offered by the university. Jessica recognizes that as a policy, universal and no-cost prescription contraception just makes good sense and the social, fiscal, health and equity benefits are irrefutable! The high out-out-pocket costs leave an inequitable burden on those who have uteruses to manage birth control and unplanned pregnancies, especially those working-class individuals and families.

Jessica is most passionate about anti-violence and social equity initiatives; developing policy that supports under-served populations such as women, youth and Indigenous Peoples. While completing her MPP Jessica is employed as a bc211 Information and Referral Specialist and Victim Support Worker with VictimLink, and also volunteering for her community through initiatives she is passionate about including as a member of the board for the Working Gear Clothing Society for close to ten years. During her BSW she worked with Rise Women’s Legal Centre and an emergency women’s shelter with the Greater Vancouver Elizabeth Fry Society. Her previous employment experience includes 7+ years working with young people through MCFD care and at an alternative education school plus 2+ years as an Employment Resource Specialist.

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Emily Wiesenthal

 

Emily is a medical student in UBC's Southern Medical Program and a settler living on the unceded territory of the Syilx (Okanagan) People. Prior to starting medical school, she completed an honours degree in Gender Studies at the University of Victoria as a Loran Scholar. Her academic and activist work is rooted in a fierce belief in reproductive justice, gender-inclusive sexual health, harm reduction, and community care. 

Samuel Kirk

 

Sam is a medical student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He joined the campaign with the hope of making access to contraception more equitable for BC residents, regardless of their gender or ability to pay for it.

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Thea Baines

 

Thea is an international relations and history student at the University of British Columbia. As someone who has been involved in activism and politics for her whole life, Thea is excited and honored to be joining the amazing group of people on the AccessBC team. Thea is involved in a variety of social justice organizations in the Vancouver area, including the Divest VPD Coalition, the UBC Women’s Centre, the UBC Social Justice Centre, as well as various projects supporting housing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Over the past summer, Thea led a historic campaign to pressure Vancouver City Council into funding research into decriminalizing poverty. Thea is looking forward to promoting reproductive justice and making the province of British Columbia a better place for all.

Kennadie Chaudhary

Campaign Coordinator
 

Kennadie is a 24 year old student pursuing her MSc in Global Health with a focus on Globalization and Equity through McMaster University. She is completing a practicum with AccessBC as campaign coordinator and will be evaluating the campaign to date, amongst other tasks. She is passionate about reproductive justice and will also be conducting research on its position in Manitoba for her MSc scholarly paper. Kennadie currently resides in Winnipeg and works as a disability support worker. In her spare time, she volunteers as a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Winnipeg, and loves connecting with friends, discovering new music, camping, and travelling.

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Kim Wiersma

 

Kim Wiersma is Masters of Social Work student, specializing in Clinical Counselling. She is a Penticton, BC resident and has an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology from UBC Vancouver. Kim has experience working as a Behavioral Interventionist and Support Worker for individuals with disabilities and as a Recovery Worker in addictions services. She values community connection, laughter, and being outside in nature, and is passionate about social equity and building resilient and sustainable communities. She believes that every form of contraception should be made accessible and at no-cost to every individual who is seeking it.